Imperialism through the Looking Glass

Imperialism is Antithetical to the Sovereign Equality of States

How are Westerners to make sense of human precepts that espouse the goodness of sharing with those less fortunate while western corporations plunder the wealth from the land of those in dire need? How is it that Westerners can make sense of the professed desire for peace and love for fellow humans when western militaries wreak violence on smaller nations and blithely explain away civilian deaths as “collateral damage”?

It makes one wonder: on which side of the looking glass are we?

If one wandered to the other side of the looking glass — where up is down and down is up, where left is right and right is left, where good is bad and bad is good — what would one find? How does imperialism look like on the other side of the mirror?

Just imagine what would have been the reaction of the United States if Iran was running a covert spy operation against it and refused to discuss the matter? ((Scott Shane and David E. Sanger, “Drone Crash in Iran Reveals Secret U.S. Surveillance Effort,” New York Times, 7 December 2011.))

What would have been the reaction if an Iranian drone had been brought down/crashed in the continental United States? One can easily imagine the outcry and indignation. It would certainly be described as a clear-cut casus belli. What if the Iranian reaction to its “lost” drone were merely to deny the authenticity of the drone? ((CNN Wire Staff, “U.S. officials, analysts differ on whether drone in Iran TV video is real,”, 9 December 2011.)) Or what if it the reaction were to deny its drone had been brought down by the US? ((Laura Rozen, “Iran releases video of downed U.S. spy drone–looking intact,” Yahoo News, 8 December 2011.)) , ((On our side of the mirror, the Christian Science Monitor had the gumption to admit “a significant loss for the US” from the downing of its drone in Iran. Scott Peterson, “Downed US drone: How Iran caught the ‘beast’,” Christian Science Monitor, 9 December 2011.))

What if the reaction were merely to downplay US acquisition of Iranian technology? ((Laura Rozen, “Iran releases video of downed U.S. spy drone–looking intact,” Yahoo News, 8 December 2011.)) What if the Iranian reaction to the loss of its surveillance craft ((It needs to be acknowledged and emphasized that drones are killing machines. See Lesley Docksey, “Armed Drones: Time to Call a Halt,” Dissident Voice, 19 July 2011.)) were unapologetic, as if spying on a sovereign nation was its right? ((After all, does Iran not have the same right to verify US compliance with the NPT as the US assumes for itself?))

What if this were one of many preceding drone tresspasses? ((“Iran ‘shoots down Western spy drones’ in Gulf,” BBC News, 2 January 2011.))

What would the reaction be if Iran built a case against the US based on dollops of disinformation, manipulating international personnel charged with nonproliferation responsibility, and targeted the US economy by pressing for worldwide sanctions ((See Tom Burghardt, “Washington’s Countdown to War: Target Iran,” Dissident Voice, 26 November 2011.)) for failing to live up to many clauses in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty including the preamble which states,

Desiring to further the easing of international tension and the strengthening of trust between States in order to facilitate the cessation of the manufacture of nuclear weapons, the liquidation of all their existing stockpiles, and the elimination from national arsenals of nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery pursuant to a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control… ((“The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).”))

In the “real world,” the US has continued to maintain and update its nuclear stockpile in clear contravention of the NPT. ((Hans Kristiansen, “The Nuclear Weapons Modernization Budget,” FAS Strategic Security Blog, 17 February 2011. The US nuclear stockpile is estimated to be a little more than 5000 nuclear weapons in 2012. Hans Kristiansen, “Estimates of the US Nuclear Weapons Stockpile, 2007 and 2012,” FAS Strategic Security Blog, 2 May 2007.))

What if the Iranian president and foreign minister all declared that “no options were off the table” in how to deal with the nuclear threat posed by the United States? ((See Norman Solomon, “The Awful Truth About Hillary, Barack, John … and Whitewash,” Dissident Voice, 14 April 2007.))

Imagine if Iran had attempted to shut down nuclear facilities in the US and Israel with a computer virus? ((James Hider, “Computer virus used to sabotage Iran’s nuclear plans ‘built by US and Israel’,” The Australian, 17 January 2011.)) How would the US and Israel have responded?

Imagine if Iranian black operatives were assassinating nuclear scientists in Israel while denying it all back home “with a smile.” ((Matthew Cole and Mark Schone, “Who Is Killing Iran’s Nuclear Scientists?ABC News, 26 July 2011.)) Imagine if explosions mysteriously erupted from Dimona? ((Documents from the United States National Archives, “Dimona Revealed,” Israel and the Bomb.)) What would be the reaction in Israel – especially if a former Iranian head of state security hinted his state was behind it all acting as “the hand of Allah”? ((See Corky Siemaszko, “Bombing of Iranian nuke facilities no accident?New York Daily News, 30 November 2011.))

What if part of the justification for destruction of Israeli nuclear facilities was that Israeli-made drones were used by Iran’s nemesis, the US, to overfly its neighbour state, Iraq? ((Safa Haeri “Iranian-Made Drones Flew Over Israel,” Iran Press Service, 9 November 2004. Note: Haeri is an Iranian-born exile who agitates against the Iranian government. Thus, despite the name, Iran Press Service is not an Iran-based media organization.)) , ((Meanwhile staunch the US, uses Israeli-made drones next door in Iraq. Steve Weizman, “Maker: Israeli ‘Drones’ Fly Over Iraq,” AP, 19 March 2007.))

If, as a part of modern historical record, Iran had plotted and helped bring about the overthrow of an elected US government and then replaced it with an authoritarian monarch kept in place with a draconian state security, how would Americans view the Iranian state? ((William Blum, “Iran 1953: Making it safe for the King of Kings,” excerpted from Killing Hope, Third World Traveler.))

If everything detailed here has happened mirror opposite against Iran, how then is it that a serial aggressor state like the US ((See William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2000).)) has any moral clout to denounce Iran? How is that Israel, a serial violator of international law, has any moral standing to pronounce on Iran?

Is the United Nations not based on the “sovereign equality of all its Members” as stated in the UN Charter? ((“The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.” Article 2.1, Charter of the United Nations.)) Why then should the reaction among UN members differ in response to similar provocations?

How does one state justify its possession of weapons of mass destruction while denying other states the same right of possession? What happened to Iraq and Libya when they gave up possessing WMD? What has happened to North Korea which gained possession of nuclear bombs? What conclusions should the Iranian state reach from all of this?

Does each state not have the inalienable right to self-defense equal to that of other states? ((See Kim Petersen, “The Inalienable Right to Self Defense: Balancing the Power,” Dissident Voice, 27 February 2006.))

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at Read other articles by Kim.